Written and Drawn by Henrietta by the Argentine cartoonist Liniers is a treat to read, bringing back the excitement I feel when I see a brand new box of colored pencils and a crisp, white page as well as the occasional, immobilizing dread that comes with creating. Liniers treats us to his view of Henrietta as she writes and illustrates a story as well as Henrietta's story itself, as written and drawn by her.
Three panels in, and I already know I am completely in love with this book when Henrietta says to her cat Fellini, "A book is like a world you can carry around with you." Henrietta begins her story, showing Fellini the title page that reads, "The Monster with Three Heads and Two Hats." With every page turn, we see Henrietta writing her story, which sometimes flows and sometimes comes in fits and starts.
We also get to learn about story structure and plot development. At one sticking point, Henrietta tells Fellini that there is "always something that happens suddenly" in a good story, and she adds suspense to hers. At another point, she tells Fellini that, "Thinking up new ideas is always the hardest part," and that elipses add suspense. When a wardrobe becomes part of the story, Hentrietta tells Fellini that it was made in Narnia.
Even though it seems scary, Emily, the girl in the story, follows the three headed monster with two hats into the wardrobe to find a third hat. Henrietta even consults an encyclopedia in an effort to add a wide selection of hats to her illustrations. At one especially exciting moment, Henrietta tells Fellini that she is drawing fast because she wants to see what happens next. Henrietta's (and Liniers's) solution to the hat problem is imaginative and funny and she ends her story perfectly. Written and Drawn by Henrietta is a true joy to read and I can't wait to get it on the shelves of my library. I know it will be a hit with the students AND the teachers!
Source: Review Copy